Wednesday of the 6th Week of the Year

Mk 8:22-26

The Blind Man of Bethsaida


Most of us take for granted our health and the use of our senses, for instance, our ability to enjoy the sunset, the flowers around us or the smile of a friend as well as our ability to listen to music or to the assuring voice of our loved ones. Helen Keller, born in 1880, lost both of these senses because of a sickness when she was nine months old. Under such circumstances, Helen would have grown up in her own isolated world, unable to communicate, to learn or to even help herself. But a “miracle worker” came in the person of a patient teacher, Anne Sullivan, who discovered ways of communicating with Helen through touch. She even taught Helen how to speak to some degree. Because Helen learned so well, she was able to go to college and graduated in Radcliff in 1904, the first deaf/blind person to earn a bachelor degree. She and her teacher traveled to many countries giving lectures to promote schools for the blind and deaf and thus giving hope for a better life to many who were in such conditions.

The “miracle” facilitated by Anne Sullivan for Helen was not as spectacular as one in the gospel today. In our lives most “miracles” are not spectacular, but they are the result of hard work, the cooperation with the patient efforts of teachers, doctors or loved ones and the support of prayers. May we all learn not to take for granted but to appreciate the gifts we have of seeing and hearing, and the gifts of the people who love us. May we not spiritually blind to God’s love for us, but may our faith become ever stronger. May we use our sense of hearing to listen to God’s word to others, and thus be “quick to listen but slow to speak.” (Fr. Jim Risse, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


In a modern world of instant coffee, ready-to-wear clothes, fast track projects and anything that promises instant and fast gratification, our gospel today reminds us to see reality from a slower, gradual perspective. Even in the modern world of medicine, one treatment is not enough to bring about healing. We are normally asked to come back for another checkup if not more.

When Jesus restored the sight of the blind man, he laid his hands on his eyes a second time. At first the blind man saw people looking like tress and walking. The blind recovered his sight gradually – not instantaneously.

The evangelist Mark then could be telling us that the disciples did not clearly understand everything Jesus was reaching them. In John’s gospel, Jesus told Thomas, “Have I been with you so long and you still do not know me?”

It is our consolation to realize that discipleship does not happen in the twinkling of an eye. It is a process of becoming aware of God’s presence and gradually being able to recognize Him as truly moving within our lives. Every situation, good or bad, that happens in our lives is an occasion to sharpen that recognition of His presence. Every human choice and decision we make that distinguishes us as Christians leads us to more mature discernment of his presence in us.

But the greater consolation is that Jesus wants to help us just as he readily restored the sight of the blind. And when we do not do well instantaneously, he will help us repeatedly as it is necessary. His desire for us to be good disciples is far greater than we could ever imagine, even when our progress is very gradual and slow. (Fr. Jun de Ocampo, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


When fanny Crosby (who became blind since infancy but was able to compose about 9,000 songs) was asked what gift shoe would request from a miracle worker, she said: “Nothing, not even sight, so that when I enter heaven the first face that I will see will be that of my Savior.”

In today’s gospel, a blind man was brought to Jesus. Jesus did not heal him immediately but took him alone outside the village and healed him there. Perhaps Jesus wanted a personal connection with the blind man. By dealing privately with him, Jesus entered into his mind and heart and restored his human dignity. Remember, the plight of the blind may be full of shame and dishonor. It is interesting to note that when he was able to see, the first face he saw was that of Jesus.

Helen Keller (1880-1960) was once asked if blindness was the worst thing that could befall a person. She answered that the worst thing that could befall a person was not to lose his/her sight but to lose his/her vision in life. Records show that Helen Keller became blind and deaf at the age of one year and seven months. However, her physiological defects did not deter her from pursuing her vision. With the help of Anne Sullivan Macy (1866-1936) who was also blind, Helen was able to complete a college degree and became an author and internationally celebrated lecturer. Until today, her work is the blueprint for the education of children who are deaf-mute, blind or visually impaired.

We are fortunate to have the gift of sight, but do we really see? When we hear the word “blind” what we immediately have in mind is a person who is visually impaired or someone who cannot see. I think blind people are not limited to those who cannot see but also those who have no vision in life; those who do not find meaning or purpose in life; those who have not discovered yet their sublime reason for being. They are spiritually blind.

Let us check ourselves if we too are one of them. If we are, then we need healing; we need Jesus. In our spiritual blindness, we miss the beauty and the real meaning of life and maybe, we live a miserable life as well. For as John Kiley puts it: “Miserable people are not those who are blind but rather those who refuse to see.” Do we really see? (Fr. Peru Dayag, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


Reflection: Our faith is useless unless we use it to bring others to Jesus.

When Jesus and His party arrived at Bethsaida people brought to Him a blind man and they asked Jesus to cure him. Who were those people who brought the blind man to Jesus? We don’t know who they were, but even if we don’t know them we know that they believed in Jesus. We also know that they lived their faith otherwise they would have not brought the blind man to Jesus.

Who does this blind man represent today? It’s us who are not living our faith, it’s us whose faith is exclusively for ourselves. Jesus wants to open our eyes to the fact that we are spiritually blind because we have not yet brought others to Him. Or we might have brought others to Him but we have our own selfish motivation in doing it.

Jesus wants us to know that there are many more blind men and women out there who badly need to be brought to Him. Look around your environment and you’ll find them, make friends with them and share the life changing words of Jesus to them. Our faith bears more fruits when we bring others to Jesus.

Have you already brought someone to Jesus? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 6th Week of the Year

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